Last Season – The Oilers climbed out of the basement of the NHL for the first time in 2 years, finishing 14th in the West with a 32-40-10 record.
Saying Goodbye – Taylor Chorney, Cam Barker
Saying Hello – Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov
Ready to Step In – Schultz. The Oilers got themselves a real coup when they won the bidding war for the former Anaheim property. The first year pro was a man among men in his first taste of AHL action, and should make a smooth transition to the NHL.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Ryan Whitney. With the arrival of Schults taking some of the pressure of being the man off in Edmonton, Whitney can focus on playing within himself, which will make his overall game better.
Hardware Hopefuls – Schultz, Calder; Nail Yakupov, Calder
Upside – This team is one on the upswing. With a healthy Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Hemsky and the addition of Schultz and possibly Yakupov they will be exciting to watch for the foreseeable future.
Downside – Goaltending questions are still present, especially when you consider the pressure of covering up the inevitable mistakes made by a young team in front of him. Devan Dubnyk will be given the chance to show that he is up to the task, but until he proves he is, the questions will remain.
2013 Prognosis – This could be the year that the Oilers make some noise. A playoff spot might be in the cards, but this group should at least be playing games late in April that are meaningful for more than just securing another first overall pick.